Marine who slammed brass for abandoning Bagram air base, gets appeal hearing

by WorldTribune Staff, February 11, 2024

Marine Corps Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, who in August of 2021 was relieved of his duties after he posted a video demanding “accountability” from senior leaders for failures in Afghanistan, has been granted an appeal by the Naval Discharge Review Board.

Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller

In a four-minute, 45-second video posted to Facebook in which he appeared in uniform, Scheller slammed military leadership following the suicide bombing at Kabul airport which killed 13 U.S. service members and at least 169 Afghans. He specifically called out Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David H. Berger, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

“People are upset because their senior leaders let them down, and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, ‘We messed this up,’ ” he said.

“I’m not saying we’ve got to be in Afghanistan forever,” Scheller added, “but I am saying: Did any of you throw your rank on the table and say, ‘Hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Airfield, a strategic airbase, before we evacuate everyone’? Did anyone do that? And when you didn’t think to do that, did anyone raise their hand and say, ‘We completely messed this up?’ ”

Milley said that Bagram “wasn’t tactically or operationally necessary” for the U.S. military’s final exit from Afghanistan.

Scheller said he personally knew one of the service members who died in the Kabul airport attack: “Potentially all those people did die in vain if we don’t have senior leaders that own up and raise their hand and say, ‘We did not do this well, in the end,’ ” he said. “Without that, we just keep repeating the same mistakes.”

Scheller wrote on Facebook that he had been “relieved for cause based on a lack of trust and confidence. I have been fighting for 17 years. I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders: I demand accountability.”

In a new post to LinkedIn, Scheller wrote:

I appealed my military discharge to the Naval Discharge Review Board and have been granted an in-person appearance 22 Feb in DC.

The central question I’m trying to understand for my oral defense – what is honor? …

The current instability across the globe following this American military blunder is easy to identify. And somehow, I have this feeling that “honor” is both the problem and the solution.

Should a military officer follow orders if he knows it will lead to catastrophe, death, and global instability? ….

The Naval Discharge Review Board, the arbitrator of honor, is a military system like the rest of the bureaucracy. If you want to play politics, it’s very easy to manipulate the system for personal benefit at the cost of the greater good. Any service member appealing their discharge, who gets a doctor to diagnose them with PTSD, which with any combat experience is easy to do, will obligate the board to upgrade the discharge to honorable based on the regulations. Easy as that. Claim to be a victim, and the system will reward you.

But something about that word ‘honor’ makes it hard for me to claim victim status.

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